Now is a Good Time to Train For a Healthcare Career
There’s some good news on the job front. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects numerous job opportunities ahead. If you’re considering a first career—or a change of career—consider this: The healthcare field is expected to grow most rapidly with a 34.5 percent increase in employment between 2010 and 2020.
Discovering a passion
Kevin McPherson took the EMT course at College of DuPage in the summer of 2009, following his high school graduation. Although he went away to a four-year school that fall to study biochemistry and microbiology, McPherson found it was not the path he wanted to take. “It was just not what I had a passion for, what I could apply myself to. I came back to COD and decided I’d like to pursue a career in healthcare because I really liked the EMT course and medicine in general.”
Knowing he wanted to work toward something in the medical field, McPherson began taking general education classes, and last fall he completed College of DuPage’s Basic Nursing Assistant program. “It’s really pretty short, just part of a semester, but it’s four to five hours a day plus clinical. You’re working on skills and then getting the knowledge base to understand patients’ treatment needs, being able to understand and being able to anticipate what is going to be needed. It’s a lot of material to cover in a short amount of time, so a lot of it you learn while you’re actually practicing, but being able to think back and understand what’s going on is definitely invaluable.”
By December, McPherson was putting his skills to work as a patient care technician at Central DuPage Hospital. Now McPherson is applying to the 3+1 Nursing program at College of DuPage, which will allow him to earn a bachelor’s degree from partner school Benedictine University. “Being able to interact with patients in a friendly environment, letting them know you care and are doing everything for them…it’s something that you get into and look forward to doing.”
From the time he graduated high school in 2002, Joel Hillman saw his future in the medical field. He started with a Radiologic Technology program at an area community college, became an X-ray technician and worked at a hospital—but he wanted more. “I wanted more patient contact, more patient care, I wanted to be able to sit and talk to my patients and help diagnose. So I asked our radiologists who helps them out the most and unanimously every radiologist was saying the ultrasound tech by far is the most important as far as technical support that they get.”
In 2006, Hillman entered College of DuPage’s Diagnostic Medical Imaging Sonography program, also known as ultrasound. He graduated in 2007 and had multiple job offers, opting to work as an ultrasound technician at two Cadence Health hospitals. Soon another opportunity surfaced, and Hillman became clinical instructor for the ultrasound students who came to the hospital as part of their training. Hillman also reconnected with the coordinator of the Sonography program at College of DuPage, who asked him to come back to the program as a part-time instructor.
“Healthcare is not for everybody, but if you enjoy the healthcare profession, I feel like ultrasound is a great fit,” says Hillman, who recently added another job to his resume as a new father. “I get to meet 15 patients in a day and get to sit and actually talk with them and do their test. I get to see a wide array of people, all the way from veterans who were there on D-Day to people who are having their first child.”
Just a few years into her first career, Molly Turner found something amiss in parks and recreation. Planning special events, running summer camps and overseeing a fitness center may sound like fun, but for Turner the work was stressful and she didn’t enjoy it.
“I was always intrigued by the dental field, but I never acted on it because I already had a job,” said the Winfield resident. “After two plus years of contemplating back and forth, back and forth, I realized I better take the plunge and go back to school and do it.”
Last fall, Turner completed the Dental Assistant program through College of DuPage Continuing Education. She kept her park district job for most of the one-semester, 280-hour course. “I really liked the convenience of the classes being offered at night, and it was a short program,” said Turner, who also got engaged just before she entered the program.
At the start of her externship in November, Turner quit her job, hopeful that she would get hired at a dental practice right away. Little did she know it would be the same dentist she saw as a patient. Amber Dental in Wheaton, which served as her training site for the clinical portion of the program, offered Turner a job after her final exam in December. “I took a big chance. It all worked out and I’m very thankful.”
COD Offers Assistance for Job Seekers
Hot jobs in 2013 and beyond
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth in several industries—and College of DuPage prepares future employees in these areas and more.
- Computer Information Systems
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Dental Hygiene
- Home Healthcare
- Manufacturing Technology
- Commercial Trucking
For more details, go to cod.edu/about/career/careerfair/pdf/program.pdf.
Find success with Career Services
Gaining an edge is key in today’s challenging job market. Whether you are currently unemployed, changing careers or just getting started, COD’s Career Services can provide the tools and expertise you need to make your job search a success.
Earlier this year, College of DuPage and sponsor The Daily Herald hosted a series of free job preparation workshops on campus, followed by a large Career Fair. Career Services conducted the training sessions and event, which drew more than 500 job seekers and more than 60 area employers.
Available to everyone in District 502, Career Services can help you:
- Create résumés, cover letters and portfolios
- Develop interview techniques
- Gain business and industry contacts
- Learn salary and benefits negotiation skills
- Complete online job applications
- Develop strategies for successful transition into new employment
Career Services is located in the Student Services Center (SSC), Room 3258. Hours are Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (630) 942-2230, email or visit cod.edu/careerservices.
Get your GED at COD
If you’re an adult looking to take the General Education Development (GED) test to
earn your high school equivalency certificate, College of DuPage offers a free GED
Preparation program to help you accomplish your goal in as little as
The GED Preparation classes cover the five areas included on the GED test—social studies, science, interpreting literature and the arts, mathematics and writing skills. The first step is placement testing to determine the best classes you need for the GED test. GED Preparation classes are held at convenient times and locations as well as online. Classes and textbooks are free.
DuPage County residents must register in advance to take the GED test at COD. There is a $50 fee for first-time test-takers. Re-tests are also given here; it costs $15 for writing and $10 per test for the four other subjects.
Each spring, COD holds a GED commencement, inviting families to celebrate this milestone achievement. To learn more, go to cod.edu/ged or call (630) 942-3697.
Career and Training Center helps unemployed
get back to work
Each week, nearly 2,000 people come to the Illinois Department of Employment Security Office in Lombard. Those who stop in on Tuesday or Thursday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. can meet with College of DuPage staff to learn about training programs, career services and other resources the College offers.
The Career and Training Center, which opened in February, also hosts regular informational forums on a variety of topics, from admissions and financial aid to the new Commercial Driver’s License training program authorized by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). College of DuPage is an approved WIA trainer for more than 140 programs. WIA training scholarships can be issued to eligible individuals seeking skills or certifications to obtain full-time employment.
Kevin McPherson, Joel Hillman, photos by Terence Guider-Shaw/special to College of DuPage
Molly Turner, photo by Corey Minkanic/special to College of DuPage
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